Local business owners use proceeds, connections to battle domestic violence



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Posted on December 20, 2012 at 11:32 PM

"My father was a very violent person," said Virginia Deturo, a victim of domestic violence.

That's how one of the many stories of pain and fear at the SafeHaven domestic violence shelter begins. But the shelter offers a place where no such new stories will be written.

“They took us in. They gave us a bed," Deturo said. "They gave us a room, and we didn't have anything on us but the pajamas."

Deturo remembered the night her mother finally fled a violent home to save her children.

"It happened for years," she said. "I do remember her being hit. We were also victims of domestic violence."

Every day in America, women and children are victims. Most recently, domestic violence made the front pages when Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend, Kassandra Perkins. He shot her dead, then killed himself.

"I think in the world of athletes we hear about it a lot -- stuff that happens behind the scenes that are not publicized, but when things like this happen and it’s so publicized, it's so heart breaking," Michelle Honeycutt said.

She is married to a professional basketball player and said sometimes the wives and girlfriends of high-profile athletes suffer in silence.

"I think a lot of times that is why women just deal with it," Honeycutt said. "Because they feel like they don't want to let everyone down -- the team, y'know, their husband and their kids. They don't want to let everyone down. They carry that burden on themselves."

Many people were shocked that a professional football player would commit such a violent crime, but at SafeHaven they aren't surprised. Domestic violence is everywhere.

“We see women who make $17,000 a year. We see women who are kind of on the upper echelon of society, and everyone in between," said Annie Potasznik, a spokesperson for SafeHaven.

Honeycutt and her business partner, Celeste Johnson, own their own business now called BlinQ Boutique. Their business is to enhance a women's appearance with lashes. They say they are now using some of their proceeds and influence in the world of the NBA to lash out against violence. They, along with the Kenyon Martin Foundation, have raised thousands of dollars to try and help the women and children at SafeHaven.

Martin, who most recently played for the L.A. Clippers, grew up in Dallas. When he heard about the fund-raising efforts, he donated money. Honeycutt hopes their efforts help empower women.

"I just think that a situation like this helps women to understand they have a voice and they need to speak out when this is happening, so they can help someone else who is in that situation," she said.

Neither the NBA or NFL officially provide domestic violence programs for players and spouses, but some teams do provide individual counseling.

Virginia Deturo said she too has joined the cause, because without a place like SafeHaven, she and her mother wouldn't have had a place to go to escape the violence.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com